Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) also found that recovery sleep following deprivation heals the damage.
    
Lead author Carol Everson, professor of neurology, cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy at MCW, and colleagues discovered that sleep loss causes cell damage, resulting in a link between sleep and disease risk.

These findings elucidate previous research indicating sleep abnormalities as risk factors for diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, researchers said.
    
"The study culminates years of work and provides physical evidence that sleep deprivation injures cells and that sleep recovery restores the balance between, among other parameters, DNA damage and repair," Everson said.

"This is important because specific physical underpinnings that pose disease risk from sleep deficiency have been elusive and are now becoming identified," Everson said. The findings are published in the journal Sleep.

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